14 mistakes homeschoolers make in teaching science

@Homeschool_Forum I thought this was a helpful post from the folks at Landry Academy.


(though we probably disagree on what boldly teaching biblical creation means. :wink: )

My oldest is in sixth grade this year. Last year I did regular testing for the first time. They were not timed though. I have never had my kids write up lab reports per se, but they have used two years of curriculum with lab manuals that were set up as lab reports with fill in the blanks.

I thought the part about practicing graphing every day was interesting. I gave my kids standardized tests for the first time this past spring and I was surprised by how much of the science component consisted of reading charts, graphs, and maps. I also noticed that the reading and creation of charts and graphs (deciding what format is best for what kinds of data) was a big component of the CPO Earth Science we used last year. I had never really thought about that as so key to science education before.

Anything stand out to you? Anything left off the list? Or if anyone has experience teaching college science and has suggestions about weaknesses they see in homeschool students, please chime in.

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I am an unabashed Tiger Dad and agree with that philosophy!

We just started regular/daily or near daily formal science in the later part of 6th grade.

I didn’t know kids could start ACT and SAT testing in 7th and 8th grade?? I imagine it would be pricey. I need to think about this though.

Timed testing and special needs (one kid) don’t go together. But I guess any exposure might help and can’t hurt.

I like the idea of regular graphing work.

I need to figure out the lab report thing.

Basically, this is a helpful article for me and my middle schoolers aren’t getting much of this.

Actually taking the tests starting in 7th or 8th it might be overkill. I think junior highers can register to take the SAT or ACT at any school or testing center that is administering them. I took the SAT in 6th grade as part of my school’s G/T program. It would get really pricey to do it every year. But I think it is definitely a good idea to take one or both of the exams (or the PSAT/PACT) before it “counts.” (High PSAT scores can get you lots of scholarship money because they are the qualifying test for National Merit Scholarships. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to do a practice PSAT freshman year if you thought your kid might have a chance at qualifying.) You can take practice tests online or get prep books with practice tests.

My mad scientist brother worked as a private tutor for a while and one of the things he did was ACT/SAT prep. It was really amazing how much improvement he could get out of kids just by practicing test taking and test pacing skills. One kid from our church brought his ACT score from a 17 to a 26 in six months. My brother said it is usually the science and math sections where you can get the most benefit from focused test prep, because certain skill gaps are not hard to address and having a specific plan of how to take the test can really alleviate a lot of anxiety and misuse of time.

I would add several things, all of which are related:

  1. Being intimidated by most things science and therefore avoiding teaching almost anything sciency.
  2. Not starting informal science early enough." Kids, lets do an experiment today!!! What will happen if we put an egg in a cup and cover it with vinegar? Any guesses?" Which falls faster, a marble or a baseball?
  3. Assuming that one can consider “watching ants on the driveway” as science class. While this might count for K-2, science study needs to move beyond this. The kissing cousin of this is thinking that a trip to the grocery store counts as math class. Both have value and both are incomplete.
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